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One mom's real-talk letter to her son's future romantic partner.

My son is about to start dating. Here's what I want his future partner to know.

I’m glad that my kid is dating.

No, really, I am. He has traveled a long, challenging, carefully crafted road toward young adulthood, and we didn’t work this hard just to freak out and get possessive and controlling at the moment he dares to carve out a personal life of his own.

We didn’t raise this fine young man just to pretend that he’s on a high shelf for no one else but parents and family members to appreciate and admire.


But if it's up to me, the person who chooses to be with my kid romantically won’t be just anyone.

They’ll need to have their act together. They can’t rely on their beauty, education, intellect, or social status to win my vote.

Photo via iStock.

I know I have no business making a list. But a mom can be hopeful, right?

So to any young person who wants to date my son, here’s what I hope you will be:

1. I hope you’ll be yourself.

Be comfortable enough to be exactly who you are. Whoever you are around your closest friends should be the same when you’re around him. Do not feel the need to act differently when you’re with him—whether it’s acting more mature, more bubbly, more intellectual, more adventurous, or more reserved. You don’t need to change for anyone.

2. I hope you’ll be honest.

Be honest about everything that matters — what you feel, what you like, what you don’t like, what you want. Honesty really is the best policy, and I don’t mean with just him. Be honest with yourself, more importantly.

3. I hope you’ll be self-confident.

You likely did not get his attention with your fashion sense or makeup artistry, so stop by to say hi in your sweatpants. Let him see you after an exhausting day at work or school when you cannot be bothered to “get ready.” Your inner beauty outshines your best efforts to be pretty, hot, handsome, or sexy, and you know this.

4. I hope you'll be self-aware.

I hope you know yourself better than you know anyone else. Recognize what upsets you, what makes you happy, what you’re bad at, what you’re great at, and what you’re still learning (about yourself).

Don’t let this relationship define you. Let it enhance and inspire who you already are.

5. I hope you'll be responsible.

Be grateful and excited that you live in an era when everyone can unabashedly do their thing. If you feel stifled, stuck, or discontented in this relationship, you are the only one who can change that.

Your happiness and comfort are your highest priorities. Do not ever forget that, no matter how deeply you care for him.

6. I hope you'll be realistic.

You have your whole life ahead of you. Don’t make this relationship the center of your life. Do live in the moment. Revel and dwell in the joy that a new relationship brings. But make space for the friends, interests, and priorities you both had before you knew each other.

7. I hope you'll be patient.

You’re both young. There’s no guidebook or precise formula for the perfect relationship. You’re both going to fall short of each other’s expectations sometimes, and you’re going to continually learn so many things about yourself. 20 years from now, I hope you'll remember this advice and think, hmm, that’s still true today (well, maybe except for the part about being young).

I wish someone had told me these things when I started dating.

All too often, a young person’s world gets wrapped around their adoration for someone, and before they realize it, they can lose so much of what makes them who they are and it can be hard to see which direction is up.

Don’t lose yourself to gain the attention of a boy, even if he is my son.

You are far too precious. And if you don’t believe me, ask the people who love you the most. They’ll say I’m right. They adore you just the way you are right now, like my son does.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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